The Building Exploratory Committee unanimously approved Lavallee Brensinger architects’ move on to schematic design for the two-phase campus development project July 27. Architect Joe Britton laid out the scope in detail for the two phases pricing them out at $76 million and $30.5 million respectively.
The phases were designed to spread work and cost out over time, but in such a way that the second phase could be pursued in the future or abandoned altogether, Britton explained. “We are going from the 60,000-feet view to the 50-feet view. We are going to talk about some ... big picture stuff and we will get to the granular stuff ... but it's still very early design.”
Phase one features a new Boothbay Region High School building approximately 102,000 square-feet connected to the existing Boothbay Region Elementary School. BRES will have major renovations to the main lobby and administration area and the kitchen, cafeteria and maintenance areas will be abandoned for a central kitchen shared by both buildings and a pre-fabricated, 8,000 square-foot maintenance building. BRES will also have moisture mitigation and rust removal, concrete repair, roofing repair, parapet repair, light replacement with LEDs, electrical and plumbing upgrades, HVAC upgrades, window and wall replacement, ceiling and floor replacement, security upgrades and fuel tank replacement.
Optional work for phase one includes the addition of an auditorium balcony at BRHS extending the 400-seat capacity to 600 seats, insulating exterior wall upgrades and windows at BRES, improving emergency egress and replacing outdated public address (PA) and clock systems.
Phase two features a Boothbay Region Middle School addition, new entrance, renovations of the old kitchen, cafeteria and maintenance areas into BRMS space and a track and athletic field. Renovations will also enable a relocation of students in the lower levels to upper levels where there is natural light. Shared spaces like the gym, computer laboratory, library, art and music will be relocated or renovated. Other changes include updated science lab space, new elevator, elimination of gang-bathrooms and replacement with single-user bathrooms, locker room renovations, some roof replacement and further plumbing and electrical updates.
The BEC also approved LBPA to continue pursuing the sustainability subcommittee’s HVAC recommendations: geothermal or variable refrigerant flow heat pumps. Britton said the options the subcommittee decided not to pursue were a code-minimum boiler/chiller and high performance boiler/chiller. The annual energy costs would be $160,000 and $136,000 respectively. Annual costs for the VRF and geothermal systems are $115,000 and $111,000 respectively.
The code-minimum boiler will not have any payback whereas the high performance boiler, VRF and geothermal systems would be 12, 4 and 14 years, said Britton. VRF’s 25-year life cycle costs are $8.1 million beating out geothermal by $400,000. Initial costs are $5,376,459, $5,659,460, $5,558,190 and $6,061,720 respectively. Replacement costs are just about equal across the board.
The sustainability subcommittee is committed to an energy use intensity (EUI) of 23 with the possibility of net-zero emissions in the future, said Britton. The current EUI is 68.9, above state standards, and the HVAC systems the subcommittee reviewed are all below: the code-minimum boiler would be at 40, high performance boiler at 28, VRF at 21 and geothermal at 20.
Britton said the pitfalls of geothermal is that the room-based pumps can be noisy and VRF systems require specialized servicing, complex controls and a large emergency generator. Both systems require refrigerant lines throughout the building, VRF more-so than geothermal, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could at any point phase out the chosen refrigerant chemicals which would mean all lines would need to be evacuated and refilled with new chemicals.
The next steps will be to present finer details to the public so they can help identify priorities and air concerns about project aspects. Britton said the type of adjustments architects are going to start making is making sure the spaces that have been conceptualized work exactly as administration and staff feel is necessary.
Said Superintendent Robert Kahler, “I can't think of anything in terms of information more than I would need to go to this next level – at least from questions that have come my way or the questions that I've had. I think this next level is what we need to refine.”
The next community meeting will be 5:15 p.m. Aug. 10; CSD trustees, 5:15 p.m. Aug. 2; CSD school committee, 5:15 p.m. Aug. 9; and BEC, 5:15 p.m. Aug. 24.